ISPRA, decrease of special waste: blame (or thank) the crisis

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Almost two million tons less from 2012 to 2013, and less of it is now dumped in landfills.

The less you produce, the less you throw away: in a nutshell, this is the meaning of the data shown by the XIV edition of the 2014-2015 Special Waste Report of ISPRA, which was presented to the Chamber of Deputees on the 29th of July. The amount of special waste produced in 2012-2013, at the peak of the economic crisis, decreased from 133.6 million tons to 131.6 million tons. However, only 129.9 million tons were correctly managed: 1.7 million seem to be missing.

This reduction concerns both hazardous waste (-2.6%, -228 thousand tons), which now amounts to almost 8.7 million tons, and non-hazardous waste, which decreased by 1.4% (-1.7 million tons). This trend can easily be explained considering the situation of the manufacturing sector and the construction/demolition sector: the first one is responsible for almost 40% of the total amount of hazardous waste, while the second one produces 39.8% of the non-hazardous waste.

For non-hazardous waste, material recovery is the most common management form (74.9%), while hazardous waste is disposed of in other ways, in more than half the cases.

3.4 tons of waste were exported abroad, of which 2.4 million were non-hazardous and 1 million was hazardous: this constitutes a decrease of 16.7% compared to 2012. Most of this waste comes from thermal processes and treatment facilities, and its main destination is Germany. The amount of special waste imported in Italy, on the contrary, is almost the same as in 2012: about 5.7 million tons, mostly consisting of non-hazardous waste.

A significant decrease can also be observed in the amount of special waste disposed of in landfills: -4.4% compared to the previous year. The total amounts to about 11 million tons: 89.9% of it is non-hazardous waste, while 10.1% is hazardous waste. From a geographical point of view, the strongest reduction (16.4%) was recorded in Central Italy. The second place goes to the South, with -16.0%, while the North shows an increase of 7.1%.

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